HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After years of planning and hard work, the new Pike County Judicial Center is finally a reality. Tuesday, people from throughout the area packed into the facility for the official dedication ceremony.
For Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford, the celebration has been a long time coming.
"We had a lot of ups and downs on this project," Judge Rutherford said. "We were awarded the project., then they [Kentucky Legislature] took it away. Then Wall Street failed, and we got in financial trouble. But today ... here is the most beautiful, magnificent building in the center of Pikeville that fits in with the skyline."
The new Judicial Center re-transforms downtown Pikeville. The building will replace the old justice center, which despite only being 25 years old, is in bad shape, according to officials.
"It was poor construction, poor design, and never was workable for a court system," Judge Rutherford said. "If it were a person, they would look like 80."
The nearly 90,000-square-foot facility gives Pike County one of the newest, state-of-the-art judicial centers in the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky. The courtrooms are equipped with the latest technology like monitors for jurors and special equipment for the hearing impaired.
The entire building is one of the most secure in the state, thanks to surveillance cameras and a security system that gives guards a view of every single room.
"Now we have a court system that all of Kentucky can be proud of," Judge Rutherford said, "especially the people of Pike County."
Judge Rutherford says the construction project also helped bring jobs and extra cash into Pike County, but not everyone is thrilled about the new facility. Some residents are upset two historical buildings had to be demolished to accommodate the new judicial center.